The Quiet Revolution

Last month, Susan Cain launched the Quiet Revolution, a hub for introverts the world over to share what it means to live and work as an introvert. It contains articles, profiles, diary entries, advice and comment, helping introverts achieve and live the best lives they can, to be true to themselves.

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I remember reading Quiet, in 2013. I also read Introvert Power by Laurie Helgoe, and I remember that ‘introvert’ and ‘introversion’ became more of a ‘buzzword’. It isn’t going away any time soon because we are only at the beginning of truly understanding and exploring what that means. In the broadest, psychological terms, it is someone who recharges with solitude, who gives energy in social interactions, and is left drained afterwards. Whereas extroverts gain energy from social interaction. It doesn’t mean that introverts are particularly anti-social, or that we don’t enjoy the company of others. We may even behave in outgoing ways, coming across as an extrovert.

It was an ‘eureka’ moment for me, for many reasons. I often felt a little messed-up, wondering why I felt drained after intensive social meetings, why sometimes people thought that it was better if I was louder (or more social), or wondered why I took longer to answer questions, needing time to think. The structure of our workplaces, schools, and social lives are often geared towards the extroverts amongst us – busy, requiring quick answers, group work, open plan or communal workspaces, bright lights, chatter, loud music, crowds.

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At times I feel being deaf (I wrote a post about deafness and introversion here) is a double-bind in that social interaction tires me even further with lipreading with too much background noise and large groups. I gravitate towards one-to-one interaction, small groups and less busy environments. Crowds, after a while, make me long for solitude, to just relax, and to process the information of the day. It’s the same with signing crowds – this might have more to do with being amongst a language I’m not yet fully fluent in, though.

Also, if, like me, you are an HSP (highly sensitive person), who can often become over-stimulated by too much noise, action and information, it makes sense that we need doses of solitude to wind down and process things. However, the point is that this doesn’t mean that I dislike spending time with my friends, meeting interesting new people and sometimes braving the crowds in London. It just means that I am more conscious of how much of this I do, and that it is perfectly fine to say no, to suggest somewhere quieter to meet, and to leave a bit earlier if you become tired and irritable.

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It doesn’t necessarily hold true that all introverts are bookworms, and want to spend their free-time watching things on Netflix (though both these things are true of me!). We may have the same hobbies and jobs as extroverts, and just approach things in a different way. Even if I was a consummate extrovert, I would still be a writer and still have a passion for reading. I take longer to think of answers to people’s questions, to contribute to a discussion, I need pauses and time to think clearly. I’m not an ‘on the spot’ kind of person. Conversation should have room for focused listening, as well as room for silence and considered responses. Too much of conversation is interruption: listening with a view to responding rather than just listening sensitively.

There is a balance to everything – I have extroverts in my life, and appreciate them. I don’t feel that just because you have a word for yourself – introvert, deaf, woman, geek, whatever – that you have to fit that word completely. There’s such a thing as a social introvert, and a quiet extrovert. Sometimes I crave noise, and bright colour and movement, other times I crave quiet, space, serenity. I like to go out into the world and people-watch, to have silly conversations with friends, and to laugh. I also like the lulls in conversation where the silence is comfortable, and it doesn’t matter that you’re not talking.

‘We know from myths and fairy tales that there are many different kinds of powers in this world. One child is given a light saber, another a wizard’s education. The trick is not to amass all the different kinds of power, but to use well the kind you’ve been granted.’ ~ Susan Cain – Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.

I love the Quiet Revolution. It’s a beautiful website, a place of celebration, wisdom and inspiration. I hope that it builds and becomes stronger, and carries on considering what it means to be quiet in a world of noise.

14 Comments Add yours

  1. I am also a highly sensitive introvert and I do really wish the world stopped treating us like second-class citizens! I loved Quiet: The Power of Introverts In a World That Can’t Stop Talking. I just wish it WOULD stop talking, LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liz Ward says:

      Me too! So much noise…:) Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    WHAT COULD BE MORE PEACEFUL THAN A FURRY ANIMAL–PARTICULARLY CATS—JUST LOOKING OUT????

    Liked by 1 person

  3. shreya24x7 says:

    Hi I’m Shreya!
    Love the post. You have great content on your blog. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.
    I am relatively new to the blogging forum so please feel free to visit my blog and leave some feedback if you even find the time.
    Enjoy your summer.
    Smiles,
    Shreya xx
    shreya24x7.wordpress.com

    Like

  4. I too am a fan of Quiet Revolution and I am HSP Introvert. I appreciate reading your POV. I find social media tiring as well. I am blogging but trying to find a balance with being on the blog and reading other blogs and getting away from the blog. I look on my Facebook page but I am trying to limit that as well. I am definitely not tweeting. How are you managing social media?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liz Ward says:

      Yes, social media can be tiring too. I’ve learnt to only engage in discussions that interest me, and to stop worrying about the ‘fear of missing out’ – we will always miss things. I feel that with social media it’s more a case of only using it if you enjoy it. Plenty of people don’t use it. I like Twitter and Ello the most – I find Facebook draining. But I use Facebook for groups, and share interesting articles. I also follow publications like Mslexia, the Quiet Revolution, etc so I get more interesting things on the front page.

      With Twitter it’s more about following writers and bloggers, artists and various other communities I have an interest in. It depends what adds value to your life. Ello has gone back to basics and is cleaner, more writer friendly. I use ‘lists’ on Twitter to break up the stream into ‘categories’ like writing, blogs, introverts, etc. It’s helpful! I don’t approach it as ‘building a platform’ (too corporate for me!) – rather engaging with interesting people. But I try to limit my time on Ello and Twitter too.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Liz for responding. I do think you are bit more connected than me but I feel that there is a difference for introverts with your comment that validates my feelings about social media. I had signed up with Twitter a couple of years ago when I was more actively job hunting and followed some sites I was interested in. I found reading the Twitter feed pretty demanding. The lists idea is interesting. The pace of tweeting would feel like constantly texting to me, I think. I have done like you and followed a few sites on Facebook and get posts from them. So when I go on Facebook I find myself reading a lot off of there. I have not been aware of Ello. I wrote a blog about FOMO and that it is ok to miss out. But I find it is harder to do with my blogging community. I want to have community and feel I need to read others posts to maintain connections. It has been an ongoing dilemma to determine how much I want to post and how much I want to read others posts. Anyway, great hearing from you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. tracymartin says:

    Sometimes I crave noise, and bright colour and movement, other times I crave quiet, space, serenity. I like to go out into the world and people-watch, to have silly conversations with friends, and to laugh. I also like the lulls in conversation where the silence is comfortable, and it doesn’t matter that you’re not talking.” –sometimes I wonder if we all do a little too much labeling and what we really want is to follow whatever our heart and soul need in any moment and the freedom to let it be as different as night and day if possible.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liz Ward says:

      Oh, definitely. As a rule, I don’t like labels and the connotations some of them carry. Sometimes they are more about discovering more about ourselves, but yes, we’re all contradictions!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I truly didn’t realize for a while how much of an introvert that I am.
    I am a very social person, but I need Me time to recharge and step Away from all the stimuli!
    Now being an older, more set in my ways, tripping over myself single mom over 40, I have to be out in the world more and interacting in ways I never did before so I have literally been hanging on by a thread these last almost 5 years!
    Thank you for this and I will totally be getting that book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liz Ward says:

      Me too – when I was a teen, I used to think there was something wrong with me, especially as I had been a fairly outgoing child (but also needed a lot of time to read and be on my own too, luckily my parents respected that). I hope reading the books (Introvert Power is pretty good too, don’t be put off by the title, it has a lot of good coping strategies and ideas in it compared to Quiet, which is more psychological) will help!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Kat says:

    Hi,

    You blog is beautiful.

    I have nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. Read all about it here:
    https://freshkittylitter.wordpress.com/

    Congratulations!
    -Kat

    Like

  8. cardamone5 says:

    I can relate to times when I’ve felt overstimulated after being in crowds of people. It’s like I can’t settle down, my body feels like it is going too fast. I thought it was a symptom of my depression/anxiety, and it still could be, but it also sounds like it might be because I am introverted. Thanks for this.

    Fondly,
    E

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ckbragg says:

    Oh the insight you have on the ‘quiet ones’ of the world. Beautifully written and tremendously enjoyed!

    Dari

    Like

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